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Residency Family Practitioner, Colombian-American

August 15, 2015

I cannot recall a time when I did not want to be a physician. My grandmother was the sole nurse in a small town in Colombia and, when visiting her as a child, I was allowed to be her unofficial and very junior ‘assistant’. She had little equipment but provided first aid, simple injections, midwife services and even undertook minor surgical procedures. Her patients were sometimes unable to pay even a small amount for her services which were consequently often provided free.  This was a wonderful introduction to medicine and to the importance of caring about one’s patients in addition to caring for them.

In the face of serious financial obstacles, my parents were eventually able to afford the fees for my training.  My medical school had a family medicine bias and I was involved in assisting expert and dedicated physicians in providing primary health care services to the poor and underserved from one of many peripheral, community based medical centers. I greatly enjoyed this exposure to family medicine and worked as a primary care physician for five years.  I was attracted to family medicine because: of its emphasis on prevention that is becoming more important as the population ages; it provides enormous variety in conditions and patient types, resulting in a very varied working day; it calls for a holistic approach to patients and the  application of knowledge of their family and occupational environments; it enables me to apply the high degree of diagnostic and communication skills that I know that I have already demonstrated in my career; it provides the scope to provide primary care to the type of poor and underserved communities in which I intend to work. I hope to assist in research relating to the provision of more effective basic preventative health education to poor, and especially Hispanic, communities.

Since arriving in the US, I have qualified and practiced as a registered nurse and worked latterly as a nursing supervisor. This has given me a good understanding of the US medical environment and enabled me to be aware of all the latest medical, surgical and pharmacological advances. My current role provides the opportunity to give direct patient care and to liaise with patients and their families. I also provide nursing training and, in addition, I have administrative and management duties. All these experiences will be useful in my future as a family physician.

I am aware that cultural awareness and sensitivity is essential family medicine. Having experience of adjusting to a new culture, language and working environment, I am well qualified to support patients who come from other cultures. Since arrival in the US, I have happily studied, worked and socialized with people of many social and cultural backgrounds and look forward to extending this experience in the program.

I know that there will be many well qualified applicants for residencies in this specialty. However, I do believe that I am an exceptional candidate. I have worked as an effective family practitioner in Colombia and I now have substantial experience of the US medical environment. My main recommendation is a genuine passion for family medicine and a determination to become a truly dedicated, skilled, knowledgeable and effective family physician working with poor and underserved communities. 

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